While taking class with Annie Carpenter at Exhale tonight, I found myself thinking about this comic from the Sunday paper. As I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, I’m still recovering from a shoulder injury. The theme of class tonight was inversions, and we spent a lot of time working on opening the shoulder girdle and keeping the shoulders on the back body instead of letting them roll forward. All great things I need to work on in my practice to rehab my injury. Annie had us work on floating into forearm stand instead of kicking. She demonstrated and, of course, made it look effortless. When it was my turn, I found it hard to float instead of hop (the same problem I have in handstand, and part of what contributed to my injury). I often make excuses, claiming I’m not strong enough or my hamstrings aren’t open enough to press up, and I “need” to take the easy way and hop. When I started the self-doubt talk tonight though, it cued this comic strip for me. I realized I tend to want to take the “easy” way into the pose (if there’s an easy way into pincha mayurasana lol), instead of wanting to do the “sure” way. By taking the sure way, it might take me a lot longer to get it, but the odds are, I’ll be doing it with correct alignment and not exacerbating injuries.
I’m not going to lie: it’s hard work to do things the sure way. It’s been really frustrating being injured and having to relearn poses and retrain my muscles to move correctly. Those muscles are weak and don’t want to work, and my body begs me to take the easy way. My ego begs me to take the easy way, so I can just do the pose already and get there. But it’s not about “getting” the pose if it’s not done correctly, right? Silly ego, (cool yoga party) tricks are for kids?
Yoga was a lot easier when I didn’t do the poses correctly ;) I commented to Krista after class that my new least favorite pose is revolved ardha chandrasana. I used to like the pose and think it was fun and not all that challenging. Then I realized I was “cheating” the pose. I let my lifted hip drop and sag (easy to do if your hips are open and hard to tell when you’re doing it), which puts the twist in my lower/middle back instead of my upper spine. With help from Brock and Krista in class, I’ve been learning to truly keep my hips squared, thus moving the twist more to my upper spine (thoracic). Wow. It’s SO much harder! I now struggle whenever I have to hold the pose if I maintain proper alignment. I’m telling myself that with practice it will get easier. It had better :) For the meantime, it’s my challenge pose… Deep breaths…
Back to the present… So all of these thoughts were going through my head while I was lying in child’s pose after a couple of botched attempts at levitating into forearm stand. I regrouped and decided to stop telling myself I COULDN’T float up or that I HAD to make the pose (and therefore jump into it), and just play with it and see what happened. I checked my alignment and got myself into the prep pose. I kept scooting myself forward until I hit my normal stopping point where I take a little bounce. I took a deep breath, and decided that instead of trying to keep walking my back leg further in (where my hammies eventually stop me), I’d try to lean into it more. Leaning forward into the unknown is NOT my strong suit! Low and behold, suddenly I was floating into pincha mayurasana and was able to hold it longer than normal since I maintained my alignment the whole way up.
The sure road may be long and hard, but it feels darn good when you reach the top :D